Location 215
Location #215. First Public School Building
Map 8

Schoolhouse Road


Smith's Gully


Location #215. First Public School Building Lower Smith's Gully, Schoolhouse Road.

Still Standing


Construction Details

The school building was of timber framed construction, with cladding of galvanised corrugated iron. It measured 16ft (4.9m) by 13ft (4.0m)

Location Type

Public Building

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Interested Parties

The table below shows the groups of people that had an interest in this property, either as owners, residents, tenants or shareholders. Clicking on the 'Details' link will display a list of the individuals in the group along with any known historical information about them.

Group Date Description
1 1871 Bannockburn School Details


The table below shows any historical notes about the location.

Note Date Short Description Note Text
2455 1871 General notes. On 12 July 1871, a public meeting attended by 40 residents was held at Halliday's Hotel (#222 - Shepherds Creek Hotel). The meeting ws held to press for the establishment of a public school which would be free, secular and compulsory. The meeting elected a committee with John Short (1) as Chairman, Jesse Geer as Secretary, along with John Halliday, Robert Scott, John Chadwick, Jams Stuart, William Behrens, Jesse Alley, John Beatty, James Marshall and Archibald Ritchie. [second version of the committee members: Chairman Halliday, Stuart, Ally, Ritchie, Scott, Chadwick and Beatty (secretary)] (note - the first version of the committee came from unpublished 'Heart of the Desert' - the second version from the School Jubilee booklet) The committee drew up a long memoria which was signed by fifty local residents and addressed to the education board. The memoria " prayed that the education board would set up a public school, or in the alternative to subsidise the committee so that it could run a public school, with or without fees. " The memoria ended thus: " Your memoria lists hope for the boards favourable consideration of their just request and they will, as in duty bound, ever feel grateful therefore "
2456 1871 General notes. In July, the application for assistance came before the half-yearly meeting of the education board and was turned down " owing to the impoverished condition of the provincial exchequer " The committee were not daunted by this set back and decided to finance the building of a school themselves. It was intended that this new public building would also be used for public gatherings and as a church for up to this point the only venue for public gatherings was one of the local hotels. Fund raising for the new school began, with subscription lists being sent out by the committee. Entertainment groups such as the Bannockburn Minstrels, the Blackbirds and the Christy Minstrels put on concerts. Grand concerts, balls and tea parties were organised.
2457 1872 General notes. On June 25 1872, a grand amateur concert was held with a dual purpose of celebrating the Battle of Bannockburn and raising funds for the school.
2458 1872 General notes. There was a great debate between the locals as to where the school should be situated. Some wanted the school close to the Bannockburn Settlement, while others argued that it should be situated closer to the Carrick Range gold field and Quartzville. As there was a settlement in Shepherds Creek, some locals wanted the school close by. In the end it was decided to build the school in Smith's Gully, west of Henrich Behrens' residence (#213) and east of Charlie Lawrence's cottage (#218) on the northern side of Smith's Gully Road.
2459 1871 General notes. By November of 1871, the school committee had raised enough funds for the new chairman, Mr John Dove, to let a contract for a new school building, of timber construction, clad in corrugated iron and measuring 16ft by 13ft (4.9m x 4.0m). The contract was awarded to Mr James Taylor of Cromwell who had set up a timber yard in Bannockburn (location #512). The contract price was £119 (one hundred and nineteen pounds).
2460 1872 General notes. On 26 March, the first public school building was officially opened by the Rev. Benjamin Drake, the Presbyterian Minister of Cromwell, and this was followed by tea and a ball. This must have been rather a cramped celebration.
2461 1872 General notes. In September, the school committee approached James Cowan, the manager of Kawarau Station to obtain the release of 5 acrea (2.-ha) of land from the pastoral run of the New Zealand and Australian Land Company. On Dec 13, at a special meeting of the education board it was resolved to set aside the required land for education purposes after an approach was made by James Cowan.
2462 1873 General notes/ Early in the year the school committee applied for a permanent subsidy to the teachers salary. The education boards regulations of 1872 stated that a 'main' school for which he subsidy was £100 (one hundred pound) per annum was established where there were over 40 pupils, and a 'side' school with an annual subsidy of £60 (sixty pound) where there were over 20 pupils attending. So the education board agreed that the school would be recognised as subsidised, and it started it's official career as a 'side' school. However with a steadily increasing roll it soon became a 'main' school.
2463 1876 General notes. In November, the first public school building was extended at a cost of £43 (forty three pound) to accommodate the post office and the library. once the extension was complete the post office and library were moved from a room in the first teachers residence (location #213). The first school building continued to give good service to the community as a school, meeting place and church until 1884 when a new (second) public school building (location #216) was built and a new public hall was constructed (location #56).


The table below shows a list of images related to the location. Click on 'View Image' to display more details about the image, and to view the image.

Image Id Source Date Short Description
385 Bannockburn School Jubilee Booklet 1871-1946 c1877 Bannockburn School - Schoolhouse Road - Smith's Gully View Image
1109 Cromwel Argus via Paul Crump 29 June 1880 New Bannockburn School View Image